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Varmint

Dry Aging Beef at Home - the topic

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I'm making the standard slow-roasted prime rib again this year, but I wanted to age it in the refrigerator for several days before cooking it on Christmas.

Is there anything in particular I need to know about this process? I'll dry it and let it sit on a rack in the extra fridge starting tonight. Any seasonings? Do I need to rotate it? Will the 5 days in the fridge really make a difference?

Thanks in advance.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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How much weight does the roast lose? Do you think it would work for me? :wink:

Also, if you have the experience: how does this method of cooking compare with Pam Anderson's (sear outside first on the stovetop, then roast at 200 until done)?

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How much weight does the roast lose?  Do you think it would work for me?   :wink:

Also, if you have the experience: how does this method of cooking compare with Pam Anderson's (sear outside first on the stovetop, then roast at 200 until done)?

My opinion is that the "aging," such as it is, adds more to the flavor than the roasting method. But I also think that a less watery roast will cook more evenly, which is a plus.

I don't know how much weight is lost in home aging compared to traditional dry aging (where the answer is a scientific "quite a bit"). If you start with the primal cut and follow it all the way to the table, a rib roast (especially beef) is an incredible model of waste: big hunks of fat and bone come off at the processing plant; moisture is lost through aging; more moisture and fat is rendered through cooking (up to 40% compared to the trimmed, aged product); then there's the ribs themselves, which, while satisfyingly gnawable (ought to be a word), are in and of themselves dead weight.

To me, the idea of searing first, then cooking slow, is counter-intuitive when it comes to large items to be cooked with dry heat. There's also this notion I have that the bigger the hunk of meat, the less risky any cooking method is, and the less difference any particular technique will have. In the end, the heat and muscle work it out on their own. If you were to sear a big roast, then stick it in an oven for 3-1/2 hours, what would you expect to have happened to the effects of searing? Would it not have gotten brown and crusted on the outside anyway? Do you really think you would be limiting juice loss in any significant way? This doesn't even consider what an awkward proposition searing a four-rib roast would be. For a big, rounded hunk of meat, searing, a technique that requires mostly flat sides to work, seems much less controllable than an oven at 550.

The ideal roast has no well-done parts--it's a brown crust surrounding evenly rare or medium rare meat, with no surrounding gray strata. Brown. Pink. That's all. I think what Brown addresses (though if he said it explicitly I missed it) is that by slow-roasting first, you coax soluble proteins and sugars to the surface in the process. Then you blast it with heat to brown the proteins quickly, and you're done. If you go high-heat to start, it takes much longer to brown, and the roast gets overcooked near the surface much more easily--fewer protein chains and sugars means longer browning time, plus you get carryover from searing or a high-temp oven. Not to mention that you'll render away part of the fat, which I think serves a protective function.

All of the above is theory on my part. When I was in the resturant biz, we just stuck 'em in the oven after an oil/salt/pepper massage, roasted at 275 or 300? (can't remember exactly, but it was on the low side), and they came out beautifully every time--crusty exterior, med-rare to rare centers, and chewy, beefy-tasting end cuts. Of course, they had been aged 120 days!

The problem is that I don't have the budget to do a comparison. Unless, that is, I can convince my dining companions that we should have it both for Christmas and New Year's...


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Refrigerator aging for 4 or 5 days isn't going to do much per se. Weight loss will be negligible. But it won't hurt. Dave is right. You don't need to brown this particular cut. Rub some butter or Olive oil on the meat. It'll brown fine.

Season it, bung it in the oven and cook it.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays

Nick

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Refrigerator aging for 4 or 5 days isn't going to do much per se.  Weight loss will be negligible.  But it won't hurt.  Dave is right.  You don't need to brown this particular cut.  Rub some butter or Olive oil on the meat.  It'll brown fine.

Season it, bung it in the oven and cook it. 

Good Luck and Happy Holidays

Nick

Would you cook this particular meat at a lower temp than say 325? How many minutes per pound? How much will it cook while standing?


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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To me, the idea of searing first, then cooking slow, is counter-intuitive when it comes to large items to be cooked with dry heat. There's also this notion I have that the bigger the hunk of meat, the less risky any cooking method is, and the less difference any particular technique will have. In the end, the heat and muscle work it out on their own. If you were to sear a big roast, then stick it in an oven for 3-1/2 hours, what would you expect to have happened to the effects of searing? Would it not have gotten brown and crusted on the outside anyway? Do you really think you would be limiting juice loss in any significant way? This doesn't even consider what an awkward proposition searing a four-rib roast would be. For a big, rounded hunk of meat, searing, a technique that requires mostly flat sides to work, seems much less controllable than an oven at 550.

The ideal roast has no well-done parts--it's a brown crust surrounding evenly rare or medium rare meat, with no surrounding gray strata. Brown. Pink. That's all. I think what Brown addresses (though if he said it explicitly I missed it) is that by slow-roasting first, you coax soluble proteins and sugars to the surface in the process. Then you blast it with heat to brown the proteins quickly, and you're done. If you go high-heat to start, it takes much longer to brown, and the roast gets overcooked near the surface much more easily--fewer protein chains and sugars means longer browning time, plus you get carryover from searing or a high-temp oven. Not to mention that you'll render away part of the fat, which I think serves a protective function.

All of the above is theory on my part. When I was in the resturant biz, we just stuck 'em in the oven after an oil/salt/pepper massage, roasted at 275 or 300? (can't remember exactly, but it was on the low side), and they came out beautifully every time--crusty exterior, med-rare to rare centers, and chewy, beefy-tasting end cuts. Of course, they had been aged 120 days!

The problem is that I don't have the budget to do a comparison. Unless, that is, I can convince my dining companions that we should have it both for Christmas and New Year's...

Yes, AB covers this in the show. He suggests starting with a room temp roast seasoned with Salt, Pepper, and Oil (stating the salt will help draw out the protiens that will brown); Cook it in a 200 deg oven until the internal temp is 118 deg (to allow for carryover); Rest while you heat the oven to 500 deg; Blast it for 15 min to brown.

Done.

Go AB


Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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What AB didn't provide was a "per pound" guide as to how long it might take an 8 to 10 pound roast to get to 118. Just wondering for planning purposes.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I don't really subscribe to the "lower is Better" approach. I like the crusty fat that say a 325 or 350 oven gives to the beef. Years ago I saw a banquet chef ruin a lot of expensive meat in an alto-sham, using the long slow method.

Time? I've only cooked whole beef ribs (not halves as in this case). They will take (whole ones) about 4-5 hours. We start at 450 for 1/2 hour, reduce to 350 and spin the pans after 2 hours. Start checking with an insta-read after 4 hours. Yank em at 120degrees and let em rest (1/2 hour-45 min). They should carry to at least 130 by serving time. At any rate, that's the target.

I'd use the same general instruction for a 1/2 rib just adjust. Maybe follow davethe cook's advice (sounds good to me). Don't cook it as long. Maybe give it a spin and temp check after 90 min. Be careful as meat reaches a tipping point. It takes much less time to get from 110F to 120F than it does from say...80F to 90F.

I hate to use the chef's cop out (cook it till it's cooked). But I don't really know cooking times except for the most approximate. Tenderloin(7 up) = 25-30 min at 350 convection for MR. Rack of American lamb = 20-25 min at the same for the same. I arm myself with a well calibrated insta-read thermometer and let'er go.

Just some thoughts. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. When it comes to cooking at home I can be quite clueless. Everything is so...different. :biggrin:

Nick

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I hope it's not too off-topic:

Was anyone else bothered when AB pulled out an electric knife to carve the roast? It seemed a strangely out-of-character thing for him to do. I would have expected a nice carving knife and an admonishment to keep it sharp.

Didn't electric knives go out with fondue pots in the 70's? I was under the impression that only the latter had made a comeback.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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it seems to me that aging meat in a small refriegerator woudn't work, although i've never tried it.

most home refrigerators don't have fans to circulate the air which actually dries the meat. secondly refrigerators are always humid. meat won't air dry in a humid environment, it rots. standard commercial aging is 14 - 21 days.

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I have to admit that, when it comes to cooking technique, any time I get Nick Gatti on my side, I am tempted to shut up and bask. However...

Refrigerator aging for 4 or 5 days isn't going to do much per se.  Weight loss will be negligible.  

AB claims a weight loss of 12.7%, which to me is significant (and surprisingly large).

Yes, AB covers this in the show. He suggests starting with a room temp roast seasoned with Salt, Pepper, and Oil (stating the salt will help draw out the protiens that will brown)

This isn't quite what I meant, but you're right. Salt will draw out proteins at almost any temperature. What I was after was the reason for reversing the common practice of "sear it and bung it in the oven™". I reread the transcript, and he never really says. He just claims that more juice will be lost, without further explanation--a lapse in his usual routine. I guess you can only cram so many words in 22 minutes. So, I went to Cookwise, Shirley Corriher's book, since she and AB are so buddy-buddy. She supports my theory:

During roasting, juices containing proteins and sugars have come to the surface and evaporated. So when I brown the meat at the end...there is considerably greater concentration of surface sugars and proteins. With elevated temperatures, browning occurs rapidly.

This is so close to what I wrote earlier that I have to insist that I didn't intentionally crib it. I'll also ungratefully point out that, two pages later, she cites Pam Anderson and says to sear the roast, then cook it at 200 until it reaches 110 internally. :wacko:

What AB didn't provide was a "per pound" guide as to how long it might take an 8 to 10 pound roast to get to 118. Just wondering for planning purposes.

No, he didn't, I'm guessing because he wanted everybody concentrating on temperature. Neither does Corriher. IMHO, this is a correct but irritating approach. Timing is important. The closest I could find was in good old Joy of Cooking, where they suggest cooking at 250 for 15 to 30 minutes per pound. Nothing like a 100% margin. Estimating for the lower temperature, let's say 12 to 20 minutes per pound, giving you an hour and a half to three hours to get to 118. If you know your oven is accurate, your best estimate is right down the middle--two to two-and-a-half hours. It's not very helpful, but it's a starting point. All I remember from doing it last year (I really need to start taking notes) is that it went faster than I expected it to. Pay attention to Nick's warning about tipping points--if it's not literally true, it's an accurate figurative description.

it seems to me that aging meat in a small refriegerator woudn't work, although i've never tried it.

most home refrigerators don't have fans to circulate the air which actually dries the meat. secondly refrigerators are always humid. meat won't air dry in a humid environment, it rots. standard commercial aging is 14 - 21 days.

All correct. Nevertheless, three-four days in a home reefer (mine's about 20 ft) does result in significant moisture loss. No matter how humid the surrounding air is, it's less humid than the meat. Ergo, evaporation. I wouldn't go longer than four days, and I admit to nervousness after three--too many meat-unfriendly bugs in a refrigerator. I also moved anything that was likely to release moisture (mainly veggies) to the drawers. Aging is actually controlled rotting, anyway.

Was anyone else bothered when AB pulled out an electric knife to carve the roast? ... Didn't electric knives go out with fondue pots in the 70's? I was under the impression that only the latter had made a comeback.

:laugh: If I hadn't seen him do it before on something else, I would have been. I think sometimes he does things differently just to be different. But he's got a point. A rib roast is a big hunk o' meat. Less experienced cooks, who pull out a carving knife once a year, will have better control with the electric. You don't want to spend all that money, and work that hard, then spoil the effect by serving roast wedges and slivers.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Hey Dave :smile: . I just rarely deconstruct the process. These kinds of general instructions drive my wife crazy.

12.7% sounds way large for 4-5 days. Certainly so for a home fridge. Beware that because the humidity in a home fridge may not be regulated that the surface of your meat (the ends)become brown and develop an off odor. I might suggest giving it a loose wrap in butcher or parchment paper.

But I can't dispute the figure now. My aging info is at home. Regular dry aged (3-4 weeks) shrinks a lot. Again my figures are at home. Sorry. I'll get back later when I have a little more accurate info.

editfor Davethecook : :blush:

Nick


Edited by ngatti (log)

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I hope it's not too off-topic:

Was anyone else bothered when AB pulled out an electric knife to carve the roast?  It seemed a strangely out-of-character thing for him to do.  I would have expected a nice carving knife and an admonishment to keep it sharp. 

Didn't electric knives go out with fondue pots in the 70's?  I was under the impression that only the latter had made a comeback.

I don't see the show (no cable), but it wouldn't bother me in the least. G-d invented some things because they make life easier for everyone who uses them. To me, electric carving knives are in that category. Oh, sure, a good blade is wonderful, nothing beats it. But who can afford to practice making perfectly even slices of prime rib? And truly, how many people really would bother to keep a good carving knife really sharp? There would just be a higher number of ER visits, and more arguments over the dinner table. :hmmm:

Electric knives have never really gone away. I use the one my parents got some 35 years ago or so. It's especially great for crusty loaves of bread.

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The fridge I'm using has nothing but beer in it, so I may not experience the other bugs and avoid much of the humidity problem. Let's hope so.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'm sure it'll be great Varmint. Actually all you need is an oven and a good insta-read. You'll be fine. Season it well though. As an old Navy cook once told me..."It's a big hunk of meat, takes a lot of salt, pepper and garlic to make it taste like anything." :smile:

Nick

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When doing a rib roast as small as three ribs I like to go high high heat. I lard it in a few places with pork fat soaked in red wine and some smashed garlic, rub with much kosher salt and black pepper, rub it down with butter or olive oil. It's at room temperature, the oven is pre-heated to 500. In a cast iron skillet I sear the meat on all sides and stand it on the ribs, open the over door, shove it in and close the door. And walk away. Seven minutes per rib, then turn off the oven and leave it for an hour. Let rest. Carve.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Nick, the most horrific popping and squealing sounds come from the oven. It's amazing. :laugh:


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Electric knives have never really gone away.  I use the one my parents got some 35 years ago or so.  It's especially great for crusty loaves of bread.

Sure enough, amazon has several, starting at $11.99.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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When doing a rib roast as small as three ribs I like to go high high heat. I lard it in a few places with pork fat soaked in red wine and some smashed garlic, rub with much kosher salt and black pepper, rub it down with butter or olive oil. It's at room temperature, the oven is pre-heated to 500. In a cast iron skillet I sear the meat on all sides and stand it on the ribs, open the over door, shove it in and close the door. And walk away. Seven minutes per rib, then turn off the oven and leave it for an hour. Let rest. Carve.

This sounds terrific, Jin. And makes me feel better about my theory:

the bigger the hunk of meat, the less risky any cooking method is, and the less difference any particular technique will have. In the end, the heat and muscle work it out on their own.

Plus, if you can roast and make it sound like you're torturing squirrels at the same time, you're really cooking.

Um...I admit to owning an electric knife, too. I'm just not sure where it is.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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So let's say we are planning to do a 6-7 lb. beef tenderloin on Xmas day.

Opinions about best way/temperature/etc. to cook said tenderloin?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I like Alton a lot but sometimes he's contrarian just for the sake of being so. I don't mind him recommending an electric knife to carve the roast but when in another show he advised using a butter knife to open clams I could of smacked him silly. A freakin' clam knife at the local restaurant supply costs like $2.50 and it's the same one the pros use and much safer. He says it's multi-tasking. Yeah, you can clean the counter with the dishtowel and also use it to wrap your bleeding palm.

Rant over. Back to roasts. Lots and lots of Kosher salt rubbed in works for me.

PJ


"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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So let's say we are planning to do a 6-7 lb. beef tenderloin on Xmas day.

Opinions about best way/temperature/etc. to cook said tenderloin?

I don't care much for tenderloin and so rarely have anything to do with it. However, we had an interesting discussion around poaching the thing you might want to look at: Boiled Beef, According to Bittman.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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